Trentino-Alto Adige Facts


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About Trentino-Alto Adige

Trentino (along with Lombardy's Franciacorta) is where Italy's best sparkling wines are made, using the Champagne method and usually referred to as Talento. As a rule, they are more fruity and less yeasty than their counterparts from Champagne and Franciacorta. Trentino's still white wines can be good, but are generally less interesting than those of Alto Aldige and Friuli-Venezia-Giulia.

Two of Italy's best--and most famous--red wines are made in Trentino, one a Cabernet/Merlot blend from San Leonardo, the other produced from the native grape Teroldego at Foradori.

Made in small quantities but often of very high quality, Trentino's Vin Santos are very rich, sweet wines sourced from grapes that have been left to air dry for up to four months and typically bottled several years after the harvest. They are among Italy's finest sweet wines.

Alto Adige--along with Friuli-Venezia-Giulia (FVG)--produces some of Italy's finest white wines, made from both native and international grapes. Because this region was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1917, you will find many Germanic grape varieties here, such as Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Alto Adige's Sauvignons and Pinot Grigios can be world-class, but its Chardonnays, as elsewhere in Italy, are generally less distinctive.

Alto Adige also produces a number of very good cooler-climate Cabernets and Merlots, as well as some more idiosyncratic red wines worth seeking out. Not many years ago, these varieties in northeast Italy tended to be excessively vegetal, but today more producers are making consistently ripe wines that are at the same time less jammy and alcoholic than wines from the same grapes made in Sicily and parts of Tuscany.

Alto Adige's sweet desert wine, Passito, is made from aromatic grape varieties such as Riesling, Yellow Muscat, and Gewurztraminer. In order to concentrate sugars and other flavors, Passito wines are made by air-drying grapes on straw mats or plastic shelves for weeks or months before they are pressed.